Monday, November 17, 2008

Singing with the choir

As far as I can remember I've always been in a choir.

In Sunday School at Marbel Baptist Church, I'd join my brother Ralph in practices for the Christmas cantata during Saturday afternoons. I was about five. The youngest among all the kids, I simply tagged along.

During the actual performance, my brother sang (lip-synched being the more appropriate term) one solo part—was it Silent Night?—while I stood in the background, mumbling words I didn't really understand. But I think Ma'am Dorcas, the Sunday School teacher, liked me because I smiled a lot, especially on-stage.

In grade school, I joined the Graders' Choir. It would become the Graders' Theater Guild soon after. I sang soprano because little boys sound like girls—and I think I was exceptional because I'd even beat some girls at singing the higher notes.

At the Theater Guild, I learned a lot from Teacher Perlyn Enriquez, my favorite music teacher at Notre Dame. She taught me how to use facial expressions, sing with the diaphragm, and speak the words clearly. She would become my voice coach for the next years to come, and a lot of what I've learned from singing I owe to her.

I wasn't involved in any singing group in high school, except for the Math Jingle Contests we had during the Math Week. A shame, really, because I didn't develop my voice at the time when my voice was beginning to evolve—thanks to puberty and all that.

In college, I qualified for the first round of auditions for the world-famous UP Singing Ambassadors when the group came to Kalayaan Dorm. I didn't bother going to the succeeding rounds because I was warned it would take a lot of my time.

I figured it would be better to join a small-time choir, so I became part of the MBB Star Activity. “Star activity” actually refers to the unpredictability of restriction enzymes when they're used at sub-optimal conditions. For a choral group, that means it's impossible to predict what we're going to do next.

For the past years, the choir has joined the Carolfest, College of Science's most prestigious competition. We've been winning medals ever since.

The Carolfest is scheduled on December 5, and we're wrestling with the practice sessions after our classes. Jana Mier, who's gifted in music, is patient in training us. The contest piece is Anong Gagawin Mo Ngayong Pasko? (What Will You Do This Christmas?) by Ryan Cayabyab.

Oh, I hope we win!

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